With the addition of two new Commercial District Affiliates, the list of communities recognized as pursuing or exploring the Main Street Four Point Approach has grown to 98.
There are currently 21 designated Virginia Main Street (VMS) Communities across the commonwealth. These communities have all been nationally accredited by the National Trust Main Street Center for their work in 2009. But not every community is ready to undertake a comprehensive Main Street effort. For those with the desire and energy to improve historic downtown commercial districts, Virginia Main Street has resources to assist them through the affiliate program.
The two communities being added to the affiliate roster this year are Gloucester and Smithfield.
A good route toward Main Street designation, affiliate status models the incremental approach needed in and effective revitalization strategy. Virginia communities with pedestrian-oriented commercial districts can become affiliates by completing a brief, noncompetitive application at any time. There is no limit on the number of commercial district affiliates, and interest in this program continues to grow.
Affiliate status gives smaller communities access to Main Street’s intensive trainings, such as “Main Street Essentials,” being held this year in Abingdon on Sept. 22 and 23. At the trainings community leaders network with leaders from the program’s more mature communities, learning from personal experiences and best practices in the field.
If your community is just getting started in revitalization efforts, Virginia Main Street has the information and resources to help. An initiative of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Virginia Main Street provides valuable, cost-free assistance to help train and prepare your community to undertake a comprehensive strategy. There are options for participation that can be tailored to your community’s size and level of readiness.